When diagnosing your own marketing ills, it is hard to know how to differentiate the urgent symptoms from the important ones, and the important ones from the unimportant ones.

Even trained professionals, like doctors, don’t diagnose themselves. Yet, everyone believes it is OK to diagnose themselves for marketing issues.

I am not arguing that everyone needs a trained professional, but I am arguing that you need a particularly clear vision to separate the urgent symptoms from the important symptoms.

“We need more leads.” That’s urgent.

“We have trouble differentiating ourselves from the competition.” This is not more urgent than

“We need more leads,” but it is a lot more important for your long term marketing success.

If you haven’t read it yet, read ZAG by Marty Neumeier. This short book gives a clear road map for figuring out what makes your firm truly different. His 17 step process goes through many questions, but the most important question for firms in the life sciences trying to position their brand is this one (his question #6):

What makes you the “only”?

This is a particular challenge in B2B life sciences sectors, where there is lots of crowding. There are lots of formulation companies, lots of core labs, lots of CROs, lots of CMOs. Few have any differentiators clearly identified; fewer still have identified differentiators that are authentic, meaningful to the audience and most importantly, truly unique. Most organizations rely on marketing claims like the old standbys: “We offer Quality,” or “Our people make us different!” The trouble with these claims is that they don’t differentiate – they are not truly unique.

Figure out What makes you the only? and you’ve got a great head start in compelling marketing.